Chevy Volt gets another step closer to showrooms

Oct 12, 2010

The Chevy Volt got one step closer to the showrooms this week. The electric vehicle was unveiled to the media.

So reporters hopped in, and drove it until its batteries ran out of juice (around 40 miles). At that point, the gas motor kicks in to give the car more range (around 300 miles) - and when the gas motor kicked in, so did the controversy.

The headline from Edmunds Inside Line said:

GM Lied: Chevy Volt is Not a True EV

Some reporters and bloggers began to cry foul - A gas motor drives the wheels! This isn't a true all electric vehicle as promised!

GM retorted saying,

"As part of the media launch, we're diving deeper into how the system works than we have in the past.  We did not share all the details until now because the information was competitive and we awaited patent approvals."

GM says the 1.4 liter internal combustion engine "generates power that is fed through the drive unit and is balanced by the generator and traction motor.  The resulting power flow provides a 10 to 15 percent improvement in highway fuel economy."

Others media reports have chimed in to say the flap is much ado about nothing. People taking umbrage over a technicality.

Other than the 'electric vehicle' flap, the reviews of the Volt were positive, so the hype continues to build toward the Volt's showroom release at the end of this year.

Buyers will have to cough up around $40,000 for the car ($33,500 after a $7,500 federal tax credit).

Many have speculated that the price is too high to make the Volt competitive with the Nissan Leaf. The Leaf is another electric car expected to hit showrooms at the end of this year with a price tag ranging between $28,000 to $35,000 before the rebate.

In the NY Times Wheels blog, GM spokesman said,

“The Volt is the next iteration of the hybrid vehicle — it has the 40-mile electric range, but if you want to drive it from New York to Los Angeles, you can. The Leaf will probably be a second car, whereas the Volt can be your primary car.”

So what do you think? Is the Volt the true eclectic car revolution we've been expecting?